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Refresher: The Vikings 2021 Defense by the Numbers


Refresher: The Vikings 2021 Defense by the Numbers
Dec 9, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

If you need a guide or refresher to determine how the Minnesota Vikings can improve on defense in 2022, look no further.

The Vikings hired Ed Donatell in February to marshall a 3-4 defense for only the second time in franchise history. Minnesota used a 3-4 scheme in the 1980s under defensive coordinator Bob Hollway but quickly switched back to the famed 4-3.

https://vikingsterritory.com/2022/general-news/former-broncos-coach-takes-reins-of-vikings-defense
Sep 14, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Ed Donatell. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports.

And defense was a priority for new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, onboarding free agents Za’Darius Smith, Jordan Hicks, Harrison Phillips, and Chandon Sullivan while drafting defenders Lewis Cine, Andrew Booth, Brian Asamoah, and Akayleb Evans.

Minnesota’s 2021 defense was generally fairly decent but collapsed ad nauseam at the end of halves. The tendency sunk the team’s postseason aspirations almost singlehandedly.

So, have a look at all defense metrics from 2021, and they will illuminate what the Vikings must maintain — and improve.


2nd in Sacks
4th in Defensive 3rd Down %
10th Interceptions
11th in Forced Fumbles Recovered
12th in Defensive EPA/play
12th in Defensive 4th Down %
13th in Takeaways
13th in Passing DefenseDVOA
13th in Completion % Allowed
14th in Redzone TD % Allowed
14th in Rushing TDs Allowed
15th in Passer Rating Allowed
16th in Defensive DVOA
16th in Yards per Point Allowed
20th in 1st Half Points Allowed
21st in Points per Play Allowed
21st in Touchdowns Allowed
22nd in Passing TDs Allowed
24th in Points Allowed
25th in Rushing Defense DVOA
25th in Yards per Pass Allowed
25th in 2nd Half Points Allowed
26th in Yards per Play
26th in Rushing Yards Allowed
26th in Defensive Penalties
26th in Defensive Penalty Yards
28th in Passing Yards Allowed
29th in Yards per Rush Allowed
30th in Yards Allowed
30th in First Downs Allowed


Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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